Beach House next stop for Middleton Cup hopefuls

Norfolk reached the semi-final of the Middleton Cup by beating Derbyshire 116-111 at the Goodwood Bowls Club in Leicester. They now will meet the winners of the delayed quarter-final between Oxfordshire and defending champions Devon at Beach House Park in Worthing on August 25.

The match against Derbyshire was a tight affair early on but Norfolk took control over the middle period to establish a 20-plus shots lead.

Derbyshire then hit back strongly to reduce the deficit to single figures over the closing ends but Norfolk's bowlers held their nerve and their greater experience saw them through.

There were good wins for the rinks skipped by Peter Boldero and Philip Barr and these were backed by a win for Darren Rowsell's rink that included the recalled Justin Hudson from Wootton Park.

'The match was as hard as I expected,' said Norfolk match manager Brian Taylor. 'Half way through we looked to be heading for a comfortable win but credit to Derbyshire for they way they hit back. They had a chance going into the last end but I felt we deserved to win and it could probably have been a little more comfortable than it was. We are all delighted to be back at Worthing, where we will be hoping to go further than we did last year.

'It looks like we may be playing Devon again, though they still have to get through the quarter-final and if they do then we will be looking for revenge following our defeat to them last year'

Rink scores: John Tufts, Bernie Perrett, Steve Winter, Wayne Willgress 15, Phil Broughton 20; George Tubby, Justin Hudson, Andy Siely, Darren Rowsell 18, S.Menzies 15; John Ottaway, Mick Brown, Paul Shackcloth, Mervyn King 16, Simon Skelton 18; John Colcombe, Peter Wilkinson, Jake Willgress, Philip Barr 23, Ashley Clipston 12; Sam King, Liam Stevenson, Chris Willgress, Mark Turner 15, D. Smith 27; Max Harrison, Roger Guy, Chris Gaul, Peter Boldero 29, M.Allison 19.

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In the other quarter-finals, Leicestershire beat highly fancied Cumbria and Wiltshire beat last year's finalists Berkshire.

Semi-finals (Saturday, August 25 at Beach House Park, Worthing: Norfolk v Devon or Oxfordshire, Wiltshire v Leicestershire.